NBA Top Shot: NFT Trading Cards Company Worth Billions

NBA Top Shot: NFT Trading Cards Company Worth Billions

"Top Shot" NFTs are the brainchild of Vancouver-based Dapper Labs, which are NBA collectibles produced using blockchain technology. The company has just closed a round of funding that has pushed the value of the company to a staggering $2.6 billion.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have been making waves in the cryptocurrency blockchain world in recent months, with interest from financial markets and more unexpected sectors such as the art world.

The NFT movement has been backed by a number of famous blockchain enthusiasts, the likes of Elon Musk and his wife Grimes, who sold $6 million worth of artwork. The explosion of NFTs has even drawn the attention of mainstream artists. Damien Hurst is one of the biggest names to crop up from the art world, the British artist released thousands of works via cryptocurrency platform Palm.

The one that grabbed the headlines back in March was the almost $70 million in sales of a single piece of digital artwork by American graphic designer Beeple. The hype surrounding NFTs doesn’t seem to be dying down, with the biggest sale yet from the Top Shot NBA cards being the Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James collectible card which went for $250,000.

top shots nba player

What are Top Shot cards?

Simply put, the cards provide users with ownership of a unique digital trading card, featuring a clip of an NBA player’s best shots or plays — often the clips are of iconic moments involving the player in question.

The recent quarter of million sales of a LeBron James collectible shows a video clip of James dunking on Sacramento Kings player Nemanja Bjelica back in 2019 — a moment which will forever be captured within the NFT. The blockchain system used to produce this clip is Dapper Lab’s Flow system, which allows users to buy and sell digital trading cards through the Flow platform.

Another one is NBA newcomer and slam dunk specialist Zion Williamson, who made a mouth-watering block in a game against the Denver Nuggets back in 2020, which recently sold for $115,000. There is an endless list of Top Shot cards available, with some collectors boasting collections of up to $20 million in NBA collectibles.

The sale of Top Shot cards has proven that there is a definite interest in digital collectibles, which will likely pave the way for NFTs across other major American sports. In fact, this has already begun, with the sale of a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card for an astounding $5.2 million.

The huge sums of money being spent on digital collectibles do create a problem for the market, as only a small percentage of the population can actually afford to start a collection. However, we are very much in the early adopter phase of NFTs and when they reach the mainstream, this may change completely.

So far, Top Shot has seen nearly half a billion dollars in sales, with the number of registered accounts closing in on a million. The platform allows customers to purchase Top Shot NFTs using major credit cards, as well as the various cryptocurrencies.

nba top shot

What’s next for Top Shot NFTs?

NFTs certainly have their skeptics, but Roham Gharegozlou the CEO of Dapper Labs believes this is just the beginning of this new blockchain technology. His beliefs have been financially supported with the latest round of investments, providing the company with the funding to turn digital NBA collectibles into a real business.

New York-based investment company Coatue led the latest round of funding, closing at $305 million. But, it isn’t just financial institutions that are taking a vested interest in the company, many basketball stars have also shown their hand in recent weeks, with the Nets Kevin Durant and the legendary Michael Jordan backing blockchain as well.

Like many other companies right now, Dapper Labs has the ambition to turn blockchain technology into a mainstream service. The partnership with the NBA is something that has really added credence to the project and likely what has drawn the attention of serious investors and various big-name basketball stars.

The market is at its peak now, with high-dollar sales of NFTs dominating the headlines. But, the real question is whether or not the average basketball fan can get involved in the market and build their own collection.

Looking at the Top Shot sales figures, it’s clear that there is a market for collectors who aren’t looking to spend ridiculous sums of money. There have been more than 1 million transactions that have been between $10 to $50, which is about the norm for any collector looking to purchase regular sports trading cards — with certain purchases of trading cards reaching much higher figures.

While the blockchain technology that supports NFTs still baffles most customers, it isn’t something that will stop them from entering the mainstream. If there is a platform for users to trade these flashy cards, they need not worry about the system that produces and facilitates them.

Mainstream use of NFTs in the future is what Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou envisages. They have the funding and the right people backing the project, so the sky really is the limit. It’s important now for companies like Dapper Labs to change the public perception of NFTs and angle them away from multi-million dollar purchases and into a type of experience customers can enjoy.

Meet the author

Quinn Allen

Quinn is an experienced sports writer who has been writing about sports betting for OSB for years. He writes about NBA, NHL, boxing, NASCAR and college sports.